Friday, July 15, 2011

Joining The Big League

Hey there readers!

So I've decided to go big or go home and I have switched blogging platforms and purchased my own domain through wordpress.

Translation: I will not be blogging at any longer, you can read my blog at!!!

Much easier to remember, right?

While the blog may look a little different(its going to take awhile for me to work out all the kinks and get everything the way I want it)the blog will remain the same. But don't worry I will keep blogging through the whole thing.

More goodies await in the future!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If You Love It So Much Why Don't You Just Marry It?

A couple years back all I wanted for my birthday was to go to tea. I wanted to go to a ritzy hotel and sip on tea and eat tea sandwiches. You know, be all lady like and what not.

Lucky for me, my mom took me to the Four Seasons in Philadelphia for tea one afternoon and it was glorious.

You got to choose your tea and they gave us each a tea pot with a tea cozy. I'd never even seen a tea cozy before (its a little clothe covering to keep your tea pot warm).

They brought out delicious tea sandwiches and mini pastries on a tiered platter. Scrumptious cucumber sandwiches, shrimp salad sandwiches gallour.

However, what I remember the most were the scones served with devonshire cream. One bite and all my lady like sensibilities went out the window!

I love scones, they are dense and sweet and the perfect accompaniment with tea or coffee. But with the devonshire cream from the Four Seasons took the scones to a new level of ecstasy.

Devonshire cream is also called clotted or clouted cream and it is sweet and thick and glorious. Remember that cereal commerical, I think it was that Reeses cereal, with the little girl who told her brother to just marry the cereal if he loved it so much? I literally, if I could marry Devonshire cream from the Four Seasons I just might, ok maybe not literally but I'd love it a lot. However, it is not that easy to find in the US and so I haven't had an encounter with it since.


But moving on.

I bought a bag of cherries the other day, not realizing how expensive they are and decided these precious ruby red fruit jewels could not go to waste so I decided to make cherry scones.

But that just seemed slightly boring and dare I say healthy? So I threw in some chocolate chips to create chocolate cherry scones.

I had never made scones before but I was surprised to find they are not difficult at all. However, I was nervous about the scones getting too dry and rock like. I mean if I wanted to have my teeth taken out, I'd just go to a dentist.

Plopped the dough into this nifty scone pan. Who knew there was even such a thing?

And baked until golden. I'm impatient and I usually burn my tongue trying to eat something right out of the oven but in this case don't be like me, wait. They taste much better once they dry out a little and firm up. You'll thank me later.

I topped them with more sugar while still warm so they would glisten.

And while they look lovely this way... I thought they needed a little more. Especially because I had no devonshire cream to savour these with.

what can I say I'm a bit of an excessive.

So I created a cream cheese icing to adorn the top. Milk, sugar and cream cheese are all it takes to dress these bad boys up.

Much better, right? It added extra sweetness and tartness and made them look delightful.

I could eat these for breakfast everyday. I swear I would never get tired of them.

Chocolate Cherry Scones:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

8 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 cup cherries chopped

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chop cherries and put to the side.

In a bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and soda. Cut the butter in until pea sized. Then add the chopped cherries and chocolate chips and mix.

In another bowl mix sour cream and eggs until combined.

Add the sour cream egg mixture to the flour butter bowl and mix just until combined.

I used my roommates nifty scone pan but if you don't have one of these just roll out dough with some flour and cut the scone into triangles and place on a greased baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Bake for 20-30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Let them cool and then devour!

These really would be awesome with some Devonshire cream...sigh.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'd Rather Get Salmonella

Last week my friend Caitlin asked me to bake with her, she found a recipe through a friend and wanted to test it out. I agreed instantly, I just had to see Caitlin's baking skills.

To give some background, Caitlin and I were college roommates and now conveniently live one apartment building away from each other. Throughout all of college Caitlin had a selective palate, most of her food could be microwaved so she doesn't cook all that often. However, she loves chocolate so shes done some baking but how involved the baking has been, I'm not too sure.

This my friends is how Caitlin gets ready to bake.


The recipe was for a layer cookie dough brownie. We decided to use boxed brownie mix because 1.) I think its just as good as made from scratch and 2.) it takes way less effort.

Yes, we may have over cooked the brownies a little. Don't judge.

This is what happens when Caitlin measures flour.

The idea behind these layer bars is that the brownie is cooked but the cookie dough is not and therefore the recipe is tailored to not having egg so that there is no risk of samonella.

Good in theory, right?

Until we tried the cookie dough.

It looked like cookie dough, it smelled like cookie dough but it tasted like flour and definitely was not sweet enough.

We tried to make it taste better by adding sugar and it helped a little. So naturally we continued on our efforts to make this work.

I mean freezing it and making it all meld together would make these taste amazing, or at least thats what we told ourselves.

And clearly while we waited there was some, singing, some incredibly talented dancing, and a lot of giggling. Caitlin even put on her new toe shoes to show me.

When all was said and done we even doctored it up by adding chocolate to the top.

Caitlin's an artitst, no?

We wanted to like it, we wanted to love it and yet we just couldn't. It just tasted so...awful.

The theme of the night became "I'd rather get salmonella than eat these".

So no friends, I will not be giving out this recipe and you should consider that a gift. See, I love you!

I suggest if you attempt something like this to stick with regular cookie dough recipes and or if salmonella freaks you out enough use egg beaters instead of raw eggs.

Me? I will risk the salmonella every time!

Disclaimer: While I choose to eat raw egg and risk getting salmonella, I am not endorsing the consumption of raw eggs. Use your judgement and eat what you think is best for you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chef's Best!

Last week I told you I'd share a little bit about Food & Friends big event Chef's Best. And now is the time!

I was able to get some quality photos of the evening from work. I would like to credit the majority of these pictures to Darren Santos our photographer.

Let me give a little background about Chef's Best. Chef's Best is Food & Friends signature gala fundraising event. 60 chef's from the DC metro area provide tastings of their cuisine while guests can bid on silent and live auction items all to support Food & Friends life sustaining services.

This year is the 21st year of Chef's Best so the theme was blackjack/cards. Our program books and center pieces all had the theme tied in.

Pretty cute, right?

Food & Friends is a very gay friendly organization, having started in the late 1980's when members of the gay community wanted to help their friends that were suffering from HIV/AIDS. Therefore many of our supporters are gay.

Disclaimer: This is in no shape or form meant to offend or represent my feelings about religion and or homosexuality. This is merely a picture from the evening of a very prominent chef, and well quite frankly the only photos of him that evening.

Now that thats over with, this is Patrick O'Connell. For those of you in the culinary world, you probably know who he is. He has won 5 James Beard awards, started the first 5 star country house hotel (The Inn at Little Washington) and was part of the farm to table movement before it even had a name.

He was also a guest judge on the DC season (5) of Top Chef.

He likes to dress up every year and he likes to push the envelope. Two years ago he dressed as the Pope because he has been referred to as "the Pope of American Cuisine". This year he did so by dressing up as "GOD", along with Adam and "Steve".

There were a lot of other great chef's from amazing restaurants in the area.

Hello Cupcake, Marcel's, Hank's Oyster Bar, Restaurant Nora, Bastille, Dino, Ristorante Tosca...and the list goes on.

My role in the evening was managing the silent auction from start to finish. From setup to breakdown.

We had some really great items this year including a mixology class for 4, box seats to a Washington Nationals game, a week stay at a private condo in St. Thomas, and an assorted case of wine to name a few.

It was a lot of work and it kept me pretty darn busy most of the night.

Per usual, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that guests and others do not know about. I had to trouble shoot at times during the evening and in heels to boot, girl power!

Despite being so busy, you better believe I was able to try some of the food!

Can you blame me?

It's pretty amazing that we work for months on this one event. We shuffle 1200 guests and 60 chefs into the Washington Hilton and then in a matter of hours its all over.

But when its all done there is no better feeling. It's definitely an adrenaline high, maybe not quite like sky diving or bungee jumping but a euphoria all its own. And best finished off with a big glass of wine.

In the end we did well budget wise considering the economic climate.

Our live auction really helped with items like tickets to NYC fashion week, trips to Costa Rica and Australia, a cupcake and champagne party at Hello Cupcake for 12 etc.

In the end and most importantly our clients will continue to receive nutritionally specialized meals free of charge because of our fundraising efforts at Chef's Best.

It makes all the planning, stress, and hours completely worth it.

Photo by Wade Morrison from MetroWeekly

So who wants to come next year?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Cake Pops

I was never a 4th of July girl. It just wasn't my thing but the older I've gotten the more I've embraced the holiday. No, I don't hang flags everywhere or play songs about America or dress in red, white and blue. But I do bake for the 4th of July.

I wanted to make something super festive and I've been meaning to try making cake pops considering they are the new trendy baking item on the market today. So I made red velvet cake pops covered in white chocolate with blue sprinkles.

I will not lie, these ended up being a pain to make first and for most because I couldn't find lollipop sticks anywhere. The closest Michaels store is 45 minutes and I didn't want to make the trek so I ended up using bamboo kabob skewers cut in half.

After all America was built on ingenuity, right?

I just found these pops to be time consuming but I think they might just take practice.

But in the end these pops were worth the effort.

You literally bake a cake mash it all up and mix it with a can of icing. I used the box version to speed up the process but I'm sure you can use homemade.

The result is a bit of an electric red, but I was going for a bit of a kitchy dessert anyway so it all worked.

Then form the mixture into balls.

Stick them sticks in and refrigerate.

The dipping/covering the pops was the hardest part. The chocolate was thick and the cake balls were not that sturdy so I definitely lost some in the process.

The whole process was something I had to learn from by trial and error. Next time I think I will thin the chocolate out with some creme.

But in the end they turned out pretty cute and festive!

But most importantly delicious.

4th of July Cake Pops:

~Adapted from Bakerella

Red velvet box cake mix

1 can of cream cheese icing

lollipop sticks

1 bag of white chocolate chips

blue sprinkles


Bake cake according to box directions.

Once cooled mash cake up in a bowl and slowly add icing. I used the whole can but you can play around with the texture with more or less icing.

Roll into balls and place on a parchment lined sheet pan.

In a small bowl melt a small amount of white chocolate. Dip lollipop stick in the chocolate and place in the center of each cake ball.

Refrigerate the cake pops or flash freeze them for 15 minutes.

Once chilled, melt a large bowl of white chocolate and ladle the white chocolate over the cake pop. * When I tried to dip them the cake would fall off so I suggest pouring the chocolate over the cake. Remove excess chocolate by rotating the pop.

Place in styrofoam to dry. They dry very quickly so add the sprinkles within a minute of drying.

Then eat!

I'd like to think I'm promoting portion control with these but I'm pretty sure I ate quite a few.....

Happy 4th of July everyone!
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